Children by Design: A Deaf Lesbian Couple's Decision to Intentionally Conceive Deaf Children Reignites the Debate over "Designer" Babies. (Parenting)

Article excerpt

It was a simple profile on one family, but The Washington Post Magazine's March 31 feature on partners Sharon Duchesneau and Candace McCullough and their two children set off a worldwide debate. Not because of the women's sexual orientation but because Duchesneau and McCullough, who are both deaf, sought a deaf sperm donor to father their daughter, Jehanne, now 5 years old, and son, Gauvin, 6 months. As a result, Jehanne is deaf, and Gauvin is deaf in one ear and has severe hearing loss in the other. And that's what both mothers--who consider their deafness an identity, not a disability--intended.

Since the Post magazine story, Duchesneau and McCullough, who live in the Washington, D.C., suburb of North Bethesda, Md., have tried to avoid the press, and they declined to be interviewed for this story. But public reaction has been swift and sharp. Conservative reaction was typified by the Traditional Values Coalition, which called Gauvin a "victim of the homosexual agenda." Most pundits, however, focused on what they consider a bioethical matter--the ever-increasing ability of parents to design a baby of their choice. …

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